Mark Syp and Maritz Performance Improvement

Correction: Power Works

Interest’s Future: Roger Klein

Met Life Changes: Hinz

New in Town

Crosstown Moves

Expansions

Contracts Awarded

Corrections or additions?

This article was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on November 24,

1999. All rights reserved.

Life in the Fast Lane: Maritz

Top Of Page
Mark Syp and Maritz Performance Improvement

Maritz has been selling gold watches for more than

a century, and 60 years ago it began to offer a program to motivate

salespeople with trophy gifts and travel. Now Maritz Performance

Improvement

Company has broadened its approach. By dramatically upgrading the

old-fashioned suggestion box, Maritz now offers reward incentives

to all levels of employees, including hourly workers, at more than

450 companies.

In these programs workers get rewards for cost cutting or revenue

increasing ideas. "In some cases we have helped to save more than

a billion dollars," says Mark Syp, group vice president at 502

Carnegie Center. "We design a team, we go into the field, we put

a beginning and end to the program, and we create a high level of

excitement and involvement." The result: "The ideas that

people

come up with are incredible."

For instance, an airline mechanic had been trying for years to get

management to shut off the airplanes when they were being serviced.

Under the Maritz incentive program, he was finally given a voice,

and his suggestion saved millions of dollars in fuel costs. Another

winner was the flight attendant who noticed passengers were not eating

the olives in the salad. Just eliminating those olives saved several

hundred thousand dollars. "It gives everyone ownership in their

company," says Syp.

Maritz Performance Improvement Company is a $2.2 billion firm based

in Fenton, Missouri, near St. Louis. It is famous for its travel

programs

— trips to exotic places offered as sales prizes. Now it does

all kinds of "back office" operations, integrating research,

communications, learning, measurement and feedback, rewards, and

recognition

to achieve the goals of Fortune 100 clients.

The regional office was located at the Forrestal Center until 1990,

when it moved to Bridgewater. But now Maritz has moved back, at first

on a temporary basis to Carnegie 103, finally to permanent quarters

in Carnegie Center’s newest building, 502. Its 8,600-square-foot space

on the second floor was designed by Joel David Zieden to have both

a client conference room and a working conference room or "think

tank."

Maritz draws from the firms in the Fortune 100 pool for its clients

because buying Maritz services is a big commitment. "The way

Maritz

is of value is if you are purchasing a full package of our

services,"

says Syp. "If you just want us to `fulfill’ toothpaste (send out

samples) a niche player may be able to do that at a lower cost."

Among Maritz’ major clients in this area, for instance, are AT&T,

Lucent, and First USA bank.

In the Maritz toolbox are tools to do the following: a marketing plan

(alone or with an ad agency), creative communications (again, alone

or with the client’s ad agency), market research and systems reporting

(segmenting or profiling customer and product information),

fulfillment

(including "secured" fulfillment of valuables such as jewelry

or software), and training.

If somebody wants to buy an AT&T cellular phone, for example, Maritz

takes the calls, provides the calling plan, the fulfillment and

service

plans (programming the phones in the warehouse and shipping the

phones),

and — though it does not do the billing — it starts the

billing

process in motion.

"We have staff second to none in creative communications —

at last count we are second in size only to Disney — but we work

with a lot of freelance people," says Syp. And yes, freelancers

and would-be full-timers should apply here. The office has 14 workers

and will staff up to 25 plus freelancers. "We do use local

talent," says Syp. "Here in the MidAtlantic States Market

Group, we select the team to work on the projects."

Though it has rivals in the corporate and individual travel

businesses,

Maritz is the largest group travel company in the nation. In this

area its chief competitor is the Carlson Travel Network. On the

hospitality

side, any of the hotel networks is a rival. For fulfillment, mailing

out the orders, thousands of companies do this, including a half-dozen

in the Princeton area. And then there are the millions of ad agencies.

"We used to give out a book, describing all the services that

Maritz provides, titled `I Had No Idea’," says Syp. "When

we took clients on a tour of our St. Louis facility invariably they

would leave saying `I had no idea Maritz does all this.’"

Central to Maritz’ business are the prizes and trophies it offers.

The founder of Maritz 103 years ago was an emigrant watchmaker from

Switzerland. "Around the time of the Depression, when he wasn’t

selling many watches, he approached a friend who was a hat

manufacturer,

offering to run a program for the salespeople. For every X amount

of hats sold, the salesman won a watch."

In the past, the traditional trophy list might have featured the

standard

gold watch for 25 years of service or the engraved plaque for employee

of the month. The up-to-date version is a smart card, offered in

partnership

with American Express. "Say you work for Lucent," says Syp.

"You are required to do XYZ to hit an objective and earn 1,000

points. Your points are loaded into a debit card so you can shop with

them at any participating retailer. At Macy’s, for instance, they

swipe the card, and to the cashier it is transparent. It is good at

50,000 different places, and we also have a catalog."

Catalogs and smart cards offer guilt-free shopping because, as Syp

points out, you can’t use them to pay dental bills. And catalogs for

incentive gifts are not as old-fashioned as they seem. "We are

seeing more of a need for catalogs than in the past, partly because

people like to shop at home. The catalog is also available on the

web and can be customized for each client."

Mark Syp’s first lessons in salesmanship came from his

father, the proud owner of a profitable gas station in Bayonne.

"My

dad had an outgoing nature and was a good joke teller," says Syp.

"One of my favorite pictures is of my dad in the 1950s sitting

outside of his beautiful station with a Pepsi in his hand." One

of his first experiences with incentives came when he and his brother,

assigned to paint the station fence, decided to throw rocks instead,

and instead broke their father’s windshield. Their reward: no

punishment

for a lesson learned.

Syp went to Fairfield University in Connecticut, Class of 1976, and

started out as a regional sales vice president for an office equipment

manufacturer. He came to Maritz 15 years ago, was made regional vice

president 10 years ago, and last year was promoted to be one of six

national group vice presidents. He and his wife, Kathy, have two

teenaged

sons.

Syp relishes his job because it gives him "the opportunity to

learn so much about corporate America. We are privy to more

information

about our client’s organization than most employees. We learn in one

year more about the organization than most people learn in 30

years."

He has traveled around the world on some of Maritz’ notable trip

prizes.

The company heads, Bill and Steve Maritz, host annual "master’s

trips" for top performers — the most recent was to South

Africa.

Trophies are very important, says Syp, and for all levels of employees

they rank right after the basics of shelter, food, security, and

social

acceptance in human needs. "Once you hit those, you are moving

to personal esteem," says Syp. "Now you are earning those

things that lead to self realization — to being the best that

you can be."

"If you asked me how much cash did you get for being group vice

president of the year, I wouldn’t pull out my checkbook," says

Syp. "But if you walked into my home and saw the grandfather

clock,

I would say I earned that. That’s one of my trophies. The trophy

associated

with a non-cash award is easier to display. We practice what we

preach."

— Barbara Fox

Maritz Performance Improvement Company, 502

Carnegie

Center, Suite 102, Princeton 08540. Mark Syp, group vice president.

609-520-9393; fax, 609-520-9396. Home page:

http://www.maritz.com.

Top Of Page
Correction: Power Works

A November 17 article about Ray Disch, the power

consultant

who helps groups of companies negotiate with electric suppliers,

erroneously

said that Disch’s company, PowerWorks LLC, will be representing the

New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent

Businesses, and the New Jersey Newspaper Association. Instead, Disch

will be presenting proposals to these organizations.

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Interest’s Future: Roger Klein

In this period of no inflation, buy bonds, says Roger

Klein, an economist at Interest Rate Futures Research Corp. And not

just any bonds. "The asset I really like is inflation index bonds

issued by the Treasury," says Klein. "These bonds are sold

on the basis of the `real yield’ before inflation. That `real yield’

is almost comparable to the real return of stocks over long periods

of time, but these bonds expose you to significantly less risk than

you would have with stock."

A self-described follower of Milton Friedman, Klein takes a monetarist

approach to managing investment; he carefully watches the actions

of the Federal Reserve Bank. He moved from a 2,250 square-foot leased

space at 15 Roszel Road and has bought a 1,300-foot property at

Quakerbridge

Business Park; phone and fax are new. The three-person research

organization

also has an investment advisory firm, Timing Strategies Corp., and

a newsletter, Klein Wolman Investment Letter.

Klein grew up in Queens, where his father was a lawyer and his mother

a bookkeeper. He majored in economics at Bates College in Maine, Class

of 1964, and earned a PhD from Michigan. His wife, Patricia, works

in the firm, and they have one daughter who is a teacher and another

who just graduated from Bard as a film major.

Klein and his wife found and designed their own new quarters. "We

had excess space where we were, and we had been there 10 years,"

he says. He has been managing money and writing the Klein Wolman

Investment

Letter since 1976, just after he and his partner, Bill Wolman, wrote

a book, "The Beat Inflation Strategy," published by Simon

& Schuster.

The 1,000 subscribers to the investment letter pay $149 annually but

many of them are Klein’s money management clients as well. Wolman,

Klein’s co-author, is economics editor of Business Week and a

commentator

on CNBC. The pair had worked together on Wall Street at CitiBank and

Argus Research.

Interest Rate Futures Research consults to financial institutions.

Last year he closed another firm, a commodities trading advisory firm

named Futures Strategies Corp. Through a firm called Timing Strategies

Corp., Klein is an SEC-registered advisor to manage the money of about

200 clients. He favors index funds, particularly those offered by

Vanguard, partly because of its low expenses.

Inflation seems to be in abeyance, in this period that economists

call "decelerating inflation," but Klein still has several

hundred copies of the book. "If inflation ever comes back it will

be an interesting book," says Klein.

Interest Rate Futures Research Corp., 1 Nami Lane,

Quakerbridge Business Park, Suite 7, Mercerville 08619. Roger Klein,

president. 609-588-4444; fax, 609-588-4440.

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Met Life Changes: Hinz

A Metropolitan Life branch office with 4,200 square

feet on Lenox Drive has expanded to 6,000 square feet at 168 Franklin

Corner Road. "We were in a space not easily accessible for

clients.

People were getting lost left and right," says Marcus J. Hinz,

general manager.

At the same time, it changed its name to reflect a new core business.

It is no longer limited to selling insurance but also sells stocks,

bonds, and mutual funds, and does pension planning and estate

planning.

"We are brokers for various insurance agencies as well as our

own," says Hinz. "and the same with mutual funds — we

sell proprietary and non proprietary funds."

The 37-year-old native of Frankfurt, Germany, Hinz is the son of a

civil engineer. He majored in accounting at Georgian Court College

and earned an MBA from Monmouth University. He is married and has

a one-year-old son.

The $400 billion company has been a mutual company, held by the policy

holders, for 132 years but plans to go public in the year 2000.

Hinz is not worried about losing clients to Internet-based quote

mills.

"My experience is that we need to help a client understand how

the insurance purchase fits in with the financial objective and the

budget. One product does not fit all," says Hinz. For instance,

one policy may be suitable for estate planning rather than pension

planning. "We also need to fit the product to the client’s asset

base. If you have $100,000 of assets and you are not married, you

might not need life insurance," says Hinz.

He cites a 28-year-old man, single, who rides a motorcycle to work.

He has health insurance, no liabilities, and makes $45,000 a year.

"With X amount of dollars to spend, I told him he is better off

taking disability insurance. If he were to become disabled, life

insurance

wouldn’t do him any good."

Met Life Financial Services, 168 Franklin Corner

Road, Lawrenceville 08648. Marcus J. Hinz MBA, general manager. Jason

Weigand, associate director. 609-896-0013; fax, 609-896-0525.

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New in Town

Transition Strategies Corporation, 65 South Main

Street, Pennington 08534. 973-992-6812; fax, 973-535-1034. Home

page: http://www.transitionstrategies.com.

Formerly known as Research Assistance Corporation, this

Livingston-based

company is opening a second office in Pennington and adding two

principals,

Michael Mitrano and Sherri Neuwirth. Steve Sherrill founded the firm

in 1993 and occupies an exclusive niche: to assist buyers and sellers

of companies in the marketing research industry.

Sherrill was CFO for Market Measures. Mitrano had been executive vice

president of Response Analysis Corporation and chief financial officer

of the Chauncey Group International Ltd. Neuwirth had been senior

vice president and general manager at Equifax/Elrick & Lavidge. With

Mitrano and Neuwirth on board, the firm will be able to provide

consulting

services both before and after a sale.

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Crosstown Moves

Forest Gate Associates Inc., 24-A Jefferson Plaza,

Princeton 08540. Charles Sandler. 732-355-0070; fax, 732-355-0073.

This builder, which moved from Emmons Drive to Jefferson Plaza, is

constructing homes at Forest Gate at Lawrence with a minimum price

of $260,000.

McCarthy and Schatzman, 228 Alexander Street, Box

2329, Princeton 08543-2329. G. Christopher Baker, managing partner.

609-924-1199; fax, 609-683-5251.

Princeton University has bought the Alexander Street building owned

by this law firm, and the practice will be moving to a 7,000

square-foot

space at a location, as yet unannounced, in West Windsor. The general

practice firm focuses on land use, real estate, litigation, estate

planning, and there are nine attorneys.

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Expansions

American Printing & Reprographics Center, 2011

Route 130 South, North Brunswick 08902. Jim Asghar, president.

732-821-9000;

fax, 732-821-0197.

This printing and duplicating firm expanded last month from Commerce

Drive to nearly 5,000 square feet at this location. Phone and fax

remain the same.

Hopewell Country Day School, 104 West Franklin

Avenue, Straube Center, Box 322, Pennington 08525-0322. Shelley Pavon,

owner. 609-737-1211; fax, 609-466-2904.

Earlier this fall the school moved from Route 518 (Rambling Pines

Day Camp) to the Straube Center, where it expanded its day-care

program

to include infants through kindergarten and can offer a day camp.

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Contracts Awarded

NJM Bank, FSB, 301 Sullivan Way, CN 00128, West

Trenton 08628. Domenick Mazzagetti, president. 609-883-1300; fax,

609-883-0653. Home page: http://www.njmbank.com.

The New Jersey Manufacturing Insurance Company, having opened a

federal

thrift bank, has applied to federal regulators to do electronic

banking

over a soon-to-be revised website. The bank provides personal checking

and savings accounts plus home mortgages, and the website will offer

accounts management and electronic paying services. The bank has

signed

a contract for the website with an Internet consultant, nFront, based

in Norcroft, Georgia. The bank provides personal checking and savings

accounts and home mortgages.


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